Smartwatches

Samsung Gear S2 Classic review: Good looks come (relatively) cheap

Samsung Gear S2 Classic review...
The Gear S2 Classic is the same as the Gear S2, apart from this design that looks much more like a traditional timepiece
The Gear S2 Classic is the same as the Gear S2, apart from this design that looks much more like a traditional timepiece
View 14 Images
The Gear S2 Classic is the same as the Gear S2, apart from this design that looks much more like a traditional timepiece
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The Gear S2 Classic is the same as the Gear S2, apart from this design that looks much more like a traditional timepiece
Twisting the terrific rotating bezel on the Gear S2 Classic
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Twisting the terrific rotating bezel on the Gear S2 Classic
The Gear S2 Classic only costs $50 more than the standard Gear S2, but looks at least $50 more stylish
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The Gear S2 Classic only costs $50 more than the standard Gear S2, but looks at least $50 more stylish
The Gear S2 Classic fits a wider variety of traditional clock faces, while the Gear S2 is better for minimal, sporty or modern-looking faces
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The Gear S2 Classic fits a wider variety of traditional clock faces, while the Gear S2 is better for minimal, sporty or modern-looking faces
Both versions have stainless steel cases, but the Classic's is glossy vs. the Gear S2's matte
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Both versions have stainless steel cases, but the Classic's is glossy vs. the Gear S2's matte
Like the standard version, you have back and home buttons on the watch's right side
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Like the standard version, you have back and home buttons on the watch's right side
Unlike the elastomer band on the Gear S2, the Classic ships with a leather band
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Unlike the elastomer band on the Gear S2, the Classic ships with a leather band
A chronograph clock face on the Gear S2 Classic
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A chronograph clock face on the Gear S2 Classic
Both versions have quick-release bands, so you can remove the default bands without tools
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Both versions have quick-release bands, so you can remove the default bands without tools
The rotating dial is the most intuitive and enjoyable smartwatch navigation method we've used
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The rotating dial is the most intuitive and enjoyable smartwatch navigation method we've used
Scrolling through the Gear's app drawer
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Scrolling through the Gear's app drawer
We think a $50 difference is a more than reasonable asking price for this style upgrade
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We think a $50 difference is a more than reasonable asking price for this style upgrade
The Gear S2 Classic isn't as readily available in stores as the Gear S2, but you can order it online from Samsung, Amazon or Best Buy
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The Gear S2 Classic isn't as readily available in stores as the Gear S2, but you can order it online from Samsung, Amazon or Best Buy
Pros and cons of the Gear S2 Classic
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Pros and cons of the Gear S2 Classic

We reviewed the Samsung Gear S2 soon after it launched, but we now have its better-looking fraternal twin, the Gear S2 Classic, in house. Let's take a quick look at Samsung's US$50 more expensive smartwatch that looks like a real watch.

Apart from their external designs, the standard Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic are the same watch – so we'll make this quick. The Classic gives you the same awesome rotating bezel (our favorite smartwatch control method so far), sharp display and good battery life as the vanilla Gear S2.

It just crams those same parts into a design that looks more like a classic watch, less like Samsung's equivalent of the Apple Watch Sport:

We think a $50 difference is a more than reasonable asking price for this style upgrade
We think a $50 difference is a more than reasonable asking price for this style upgrade

In place of the elastomer (rubber-ish) band and matte steel body of the standard Gear S2, we have a leather band, glossy steel body and ridged dial. It doesn't look as much like a high-end timepiece as the Huawei Watch or Tag Heuer Connected, but it's still a nicely-sized smartwatch that can pass for a regular watch. When the underlying smartwatch experience was already one of the best around, that's a product worth paying attention to.

The Gear S2 Classic isn't as readily available in stores as the Gear S2, but you can order it online from Samsung, Amazon or Best Buy
The Gear S2 Classic isn't as readily available in stores as the Gear S2, but you can order it online from Samsung, Amazon or Best Buy

Not only does the watch itself look snazzier, but it can pull off watch faces that look out of place on the plain ol' Gear S2. For example, while minimal and futuristic clock faces look at home on the standard model, more complex faces with traditional watch hands and dials make it look a bit like a PC monitor using a grandfather clock for a screensaver. Those same clock faces fit like a glove on the Classic, accentuating its traditional watch look.

Otherwise its strengths and weaknesses are the same as the regular Gear S2. Rotating bezel, fun UI, small-ish size, great screen and good battery life on the plus side; weak third-party app selection, mediocre voice assistant and no way to schedule reminders or calendar events on the minus side.

Scrolling through the Gear's app drawer
Scrolling through the Gear's app drawer

If you're considering the Gear S2 and you want your wearables to be smart without looking like tech products, then we think the Classic is easily worth the extra money.

To upgrade from an entry-level Apple Watch with rubbery band to a sharper-looking (steel) one with leather band, you're paying at least an extra $300. Samsung's $50 price difference for a similar upgrade sounds very reasonable by comparison. That isn't a completely fair analogy, since the Apple upgrade also changes from glass to sapphire and from aluminum to stainless steel, but you get the point.

Pros and cons of the Gear S2 Classic
Pros and cons of the Gear S2 Classic

The excellent Gear S2 Classic is available now (though still in scarcer supply than the standard model) for $350 from Samsung, Best Buy and Amazon.

If your mind isn't made up yet, feel free to thumb through higher-res photos in our image gallery and revisit Gizmag's standard Gear S2 review.

Product page: Samsung

4 comments
Derek Howe
I won't buy it because I work construction...so it would get all scratched up at work, and I can't justify spending that much money on something I wouldn't wear much. That said, I think this is leaps & bounds better looking then ALL smart watches that came before it. I don't wear watches, and I wish I owned it. Great job Samsung, this thing will sell itself.
gafisher
I've read that the S2 Classic is Bluetooth only - no SIM slot like the more "techie" S2 models. Is that true?
P17
The leather strap looks really cheap and tacky, which is a shame because the rest of the watch looks OK.
AndriDzulfikar
great job samsung. i use samsung galaxy chat and samsung flip 1272 now. and i think, every product by samsung is good. Regards, winarjiyono